Why Art Matters

Why Art Matters’ is a series of accredited art workshops for young people, aimed at enhancing their confidence in their own self expression; building upon their ability to communicate and express their ideas in a supportive environment. Sessions include meditation, wellbeing exercises and art debates. The tutor encourages self-directed learning and pupils are given space to explore their curiosity and creativity in a studio packed full of fantastic resources. 

Why Art Matters is currently funded by Children in Need, NBC and the Gipsy Hill Federation, previously by the Walcot Foundation. 


Course Overview: 

A ten week course, two hours a week. This includes a Saturday gallery visit to the Tate Britain for children and their families. 

In the first seven weeks the children are introduced to a different art discipline each session. For the final three sessions each child can choose which art medium they would like to focus. 

– Students produce a final product to be shown for either an exhibition, market stall or collective community piece.

Ideas are recorded in a log book. These log books are assessed by the tutors and external Arts Award moderation. 

– Emphasis on critical thinking and learning through debate on art subjects – Focus on family involvement. 


Cost per student: £297.90 (minimum 12 pupils per course) 

Cost per course : £3575 (Based on school providing a teaching assistant)

Art4Space are committed to promoting the value of arts education and have seen how the courses play a critical role for children who flourish in a creative free space.

Funding for these courses can come through pupils premium or Art4Space can advise on funders.

Evaluation methods used by Art4Space:
Post course report with detailed feedback on each child, assessment of children’s work using the Arts
Awards ‘Explore’ criteria, registers, photographs and assessment tutor observations.
Art4Space are committed to teach art to pupils of all ages with the purpose of integrating progressive ways
of making education an expressive and personal experience of self-discovery and learning life skills. When
children are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of
innovation that will be important in their adult lives. The kind of people society needs to make it move
forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only
follow directions. Art is a way to encourage this process and the experience of thinking and making things

“The WAM (Why Art Matters) organised and taught by Art4Space ​has been beneficial to our
eight schools across the Gipsy Hill Federation. Children were chosen for reasons of
celebrating their talent in art, nurture for those who need some emotional support
and for providing a means of confidence boosting. The children involved speak positively of
their experiences with Julie Norburn and her team, as well as providing some beautiful
works of art, in different forms such as clay, sculpture and mosaics, which the children take
great pride in. The children gain confidence through being challenged creatively in an
environment that supports and encourages artist development and creativity as well as
gaining an Arts Award. The uniqueness of the project lies in its bespoke nature for each
school, celebrating the strengths of the children so that they feel proud of what they have
achieved. Finally, the WAM project is a chance for schools to show their commitment to the
arts within and outside of the curriculum.”

Philippa Lucas – Class Music Teacher (Crawford Primary School)
Lead Practitioner for Dance (Gipsy Hill and Mayflower Federations)

“I love coming to the Art4Space studio, I lose myself in all the creativity and art materials
and my world feels ok again”  Precious, age 10.

Feedback from class teachers has been very positive. Children who have completed the
course have become more active in the class, been able to form better friendships, have
improved attendance, reduced anxiety, gone on to set up their own art clubs in school, have
reduced anger issues, better focus in class and improved educational performance.

“These courses are stunning and proved to have impact. Self- expression nurtured and well
resourced. Every school should have access to Why Art Matters, the tutors really know
their stuff and I witnessed magical moments constantly!” Teacher

“Active participation in the arts is the key to fulfilment. These courses will enable children
and young people to share their achievement and joy in creativity. Through my experience
I know that the arts give fresh impetus – there are difficult and challenging groups of
children and young people who, by necessity need additional resources in order to
facilitate their involvement and engagement” Elinor Seath, Business Director, Art4Space

Overview of feedback from support staff:
The children take ownership of their own learning which allows them to believe in their creations.
The children were able to dedicate a lot of time to one piece of work which is not possible in school
I think the premises used for the session are exceptional.
I noticed a distinct change in behaviour of one boy in particular who is very disruptive in school. In the Why
Art Matters sessions he became calm and engrossed in his work.
The children are taught to think positively and independently.
Small groups and a wide range of disciplines gave each child time to shine.

Overview of feedback from class teacher’s observations on children when they had
completed Why Art Matters:
He is able to participate more in class and express his ideas.
She has improved in team tasks and now sometimes takes the lead.
She now takes pride in her work and is more confident in art.
He seems to be happier in himself.
He is able to articulate his ideas in writing tasks.
Overview of feedback from children:
I learnt to try lots of new things.
I feel peaceful here.
If you struggle with things and try your best you will get better and better.
I’ve learnt to never give up.
I feel like a real artist here.
I can express my feelings when I paint.

Overview of feedback from parents:
I just wanted to write to say how much my son is getting out of the Why Art Matters project.
My son greatly benefits from spending time in smaller groups and has really grown in confidence with how
to express his ideas.
At the gallery session there was a family on the trip who speak very little English and who have never
spoken to me before and now they always say hello and it feels like we shared something special together,
which is lovely.
He leaps out of bed on a Thursday morning (the day he has Why Art Matters) and talks about it all the time
– which materials he will be using, which ones he likes working with, what he wants to do next, and most
recently about the certificate that he'll be getting, which he’s really chuffed about.
I didn’t think galleries could be so fun I will definitely be taking my child again.


Click here for ways you can support us, thank you.